People unable to burp due to a rare health condition are left feeling anxious, depressed and embarrassed, a new study has found.
The research, published on 20 December and carried out by experts in Texas, looked at the social impact of retrograde cricopharyngeus dysfunction (R-CPD), known as “no-burp syndrome”.
R-CPD involves a malfunction of the cricopharyngeal muscle, whereby it cannot relax enough for patients to pass gas. It was first reported in 1987 but only given an official name in 2019.
Of the 199 people who took part in the study, 98% reported bloating, 93% “socially awkward gurgling noises”, 89% excessive flatulence, and 55% difficulty vomiting.
People with R-CPD often have to lie down or force themselves to be sick to ease painful symptoms.
It can be treated by injecting botox into the impacted muscle, but treatment in the UK has to be private as it is not available on the NHS.
The researchers found participants reported high levels of embarrassment, anxiety, and depression – as well as negative impacts on their relationships and work life.
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They wrote: “R-CPD is unfamiliar to many healthcare providers, leaving patients underserved. It not only affects daily life but also personal and professional relationships.
“Raising awareness by understanding disease basic features may increase diagnosis and treatment rates, improving quality of life.”
A NHS England spokesperson said: “While the clinical evidence of this condition is extremely limited due to the small number of people who have come forward with it, NHS staff enact clinical advice from NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), which sets out the care and services suitable for patients with a specific condition or need.”